The basic premise is that Yuki Judai, along with Yubel and Professor Banner, after the events of Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time, ended up in Maiami City by accident and was unofficially adopted by Yoko Sakaki, shortly after the disappearance of her husband Yusho. Judai disappears again to explore this new dimension, and comes back three years later, when Yuya invents Pendulum Summoning.
Since Judai is now present, the events of the first season of Arc-V take a different route due to his interference, such as Yuya being alerted about the other dimensions much sooner than in canon.
After a hiatus of almost two years, the fanfic was updated again on October 6 2020, now having 19 chapters.
Attention - SPOILERS!: This page assumes that you already know everything about GX and most of the events of ARC-V, at least until the Synchro Arc. Therefore, there will be unmarked spoilers.
The Dimensional Drifter provides examples of:
- The Ace: Judai, as in canon. He's called a "Fusion Genius", though that's partially because of Standard's attitude towards Extra Deck summoning methods.
- Adaptation Distillation: All duels are glossed over, regardless of whether they took place in canon or not. For instance, the description for Judai's duel against Masumi was that he managed to get out Neos Wiseman and Non-Fusion Area in three turns, with no explanation on how he did it. This is in contrast to the anime(s), where all duels are described in the outmost detail with at least one Combat Commentator.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Yuya frequently expresses doubt over some of the more outlandish stuff that Judai is telling him, like the existence of Duel Spirits, despite having magically created a brand new summoning method out of thin air just a few days prior. He drops this attitude after Judai summons one of said spirits in front of him.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Akaba Reiji has cameras and energy detectors all over the city. However, his surveillance doesn't extend to the docks, which the visiting dimension hoppers take advantage of.
- Blatant Lies: A running theme is that Judai keeps giving "bullshit excuses" for his actions. Yuya always picks up on this, but rarely calls him out.
- Break the Haughty: A number of LDS duelists have varying degrees of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy attitude, only to get crushed when they're beaten. Sakuragi Yuu is even described as "traumatized" after his duel against Judai.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Almost namedropped in the summary. For Judai, dimensional travel is now an old hat.
- Judai knows how to ride a motorcycle, but he Drives Like Crazy. This refers to how he crashed Saiou's motorcycle in season 4.
- Later, he duels against Sakuragi Yuu, who runs a Prophecy deck. Judai comments that's pretty nostalgic, and when asked, he replies that he dueled a guy who was big on prophesies before and beat him twice.
- Cassandra Truth: The tale of how Judai got his Neo Spacians.Judai: [...] Basically I borrowed a boat and took off.
Yuya: You borrowed a boat?
Judai: Then I got knocked over by a small meteorite, woke up in outer space, talked to an alien two-legged dolphin, got told I was the Chosen One, got sent back with a new deck and woke up beached on Academia Island.
Yuya: You can't honestly expect me to believe that.
Judai: You know, my friends said the same thing.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Brought up as a plot point. Judai, Johan and Sora's Non Uniform Uniforms all follow the strict colour-coding of Academia's ranking, so everyone who sees them immediately assumes they all are acquainted and go to the same school - even the three duelists themselves.
- Crossover: Between GX and ARC-V.
- Dark World: Namedropped by Judai and Johan during a conversation. Yuya takes one look at their faces and decides he's better off not knowing.
- The Dreaded: Yoko of all people. Everyone who has ever met her agrees that she always gets the last word in everything.
- Drives Like Crazy: Judai on a motorcycle. Somehow he avoids both damaging the motorcycle, and the speeding tickets. Yoko is immensely proud.
- Easily Forgiven: When Yoko sees Judai after three years, she just slaps him and forces him in the house again. Yuya is nowhere close to as forgiving at first, but after questioning his mother he decides to say nothing, and soon gets sidetracked by more important stuff.
- Embarrassing Nickname:
- Judai hates being called "Aniki". It takes a darker turn when Yuya figures out that some of his alienated friends used to call him that.
- Sora absolutely loathes being called "Pineapple Head". Yuya thinks it's hilarious.
- Empty Nest: After her husband Yusho disappeared, Yoko started picking up all sorts of strays, including people. That's how Judai got dragged in the family, and later Sora and Johan.
- Evil Gloating: Akaba Himika is gloating what she'll do with Pendulum summoning and how unreliable the members of You Show Duel School look (they're elementary schoolers, for the most part). Judai cuts her off.Judai: Less evil monologue, more getting things over with.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Professor Banner is just called "the Professor" by those who know him, which leads to a few misunderstandings.
- Failed a Spot Check: Judai and Johan tried to hide any physical hints that they're from another dimension, but overlooked the washing tags of their uniforms. Which is how Yoko finds about Academia, and she tries to look it up, eventually forcing Johan to explain the different dimensions to her.
- Fandom Nod: Judai compares Yuya to a tomato and Yuto to an eggplant, much like the meme. He then proceeds to make such comparisons for several other people.
- Fantastic Racism: Sora naturally holds quite the distaste for Xyz users. One of the things that makes him suspicious of Judai is that he treats it like any other summoning method.
- Fighting Fingerprint: Yuya makes the connection between Judai and Sora when he notices that both are experts in Fusion Summoning but are inexperienced with Action Duels. That's when he starts prodding Sora about his background, and asks Judai if they went to the same Academia.
- First-Name Basis: Here, Yuya calls Kurosaki "Shun" because he doesn't know his surname.
- Flowery Insults: Yuzu decides to start calling Sawatari "Cowardly Hundredth-Rate Banana Peel Duelist".
- Food as Bribe: Yoko can make anyone do what she wants if she brings up her cooking.
- For Want Of A Nail: A lot of elements of the first season start changing because of Judai's interference.
- The Identical Strangers misunderstanding between Yuzu, Yuya and Yuto is solved very quickly.
- As a first consequence, Yuto never starts spying on Yuzu and Sora, which means that Sora never meets him.
- Yuya is also informed of Yuto's existence much earlier than in canon.
- Reiji never participates in the duel war between You Show and LDS, so the mass production of Pendulum cards remains a secret.
- Judai makes Sora teach Yuzu Fusion summoning out in the open, so the entire scene with Yuzu, Sora, Yuto and Masumi in the warehouse never happens.
- Judai interferes with Yuto and Kurosaki's attacks on LDS before they escalate too far, which means that LDS never succeeds in tracking them down. As a result:
- The LDS trio never meets Yuto and Kurosaki or even learn about the situation.
- Kurosaki never makes the deal with Akaba Reiji.
- Yuya correctly pegs Sora as an Academia student, and never stops being suspicious of him.
- Yuya learns about the different dimensions from Judai and Johan, and they manage to more or less put together a general outline of the conflicts between Fusion and Xyz. That said, they're unaware of the true porportions.
- Yoko of all people learns about the different dimensions. She also meets Yuto, which never happened in canon.
- The abilities of Yuzu's bracelet are never revealed.
- Yuya learns that duel monster spirits are real before the Maiami Championship is even brought up, while in canon he only found out in the final arc.
- Yuto takes Kurosaki's place in the Maiami Championship.
- Because this time the duel was between Sora and Yuto instead of the canon matchup, the chain of events that in canon resulted to Sora be wrapped back to the Academia and the direct aftermath happened right in the middle of Maiami Stadium, with full audience.
- The Identical Strangers misunderstanding between Yuzu, Yuya and Yuto is solved very quickly.
- Johan notes that when Judai isn't present, he can sense a subtle but persistent dark aura coming from Yuya. Obviously it's Zarc, but it could also be a hint of Yuya entering Berserk Mode pretty soon.
- Yuto being appreciative of the audience after his duel against Kyando teases on how he secretly joins the Maiami Championship.
- Gender Reveal: Everyone thought Reira was a boy until Judai corrected them. He had dealt with Ambiguous Gender situations before, after all.
- Hero of Another Story: Judai, who has already experienced all the events from GX and Bonds Beyond Time. While we as the readers know those events, In-Universe the other characters are either given vague hints or are completely in the dark.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation:
- Yuya doesn't understand why Judai is impressed by his dueling, especially since the latter is so much more skilled than him, and doesn't care for entertaining the crowd.
- Judai, but with good cause.Judai: Tell you what: No matter how badly you ever screw up, I will have screwed up at least four times as badly. I might be a decent duelist, but as a person, I'm far from perfect.
- Hidden Depths: Yoko is a lot more observant than she appears, and manages to pick up on the never-ending hostility between Sora, Judai and Johan, among other things. Eventually the latter is forced to reveal the existence of the different dimensions to her.
- I See Dead People: And all sorts of spirits. Judai, at least. When Yuya asks him, he also mentions that Johan, Manjoume and Hayato could also do it.
- Identical Stranger: Yuya with Yuto and Yuzu with Ruri.
- In Spite of a Nail: This time, when LDS accuses Yuya of attacking Sawatari, the situation is cleared up very quickly, but the school war still happens because Akaba Himika was just looking for an excuse to assimilate You Show Duel School.
- Insane Troll Logic: Sora's deal with Yuya; they duel, and if Sora wins, Yuya becomes his teacher. Lampshaded by Judai.
- Insult of Endearment: Yuya calls Judai a freeloader, and Judai calls him "cheapskate".
- It's All About Me: Sawatari. Especially since he combines it with Never My Fault and proceeds to blame Yuya for everything under the sun (including outrageous claims like Yuya stealing his pendulum cards) as part of the pre-duel speech.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: On top of the already existing ARC-V puzzle, we have everyone - most prominently Yuya - trying to piece together Judai's past. Unlike the anime, the audience knows exactly what happened.
- Limited Wardrobe: Yubel and Yuya are very exasperated at Judai's insistence to keep wearing his uniform jacket years after he graduated. Judai justifies it by saying it's a Memento MacGuffin.
- Locked Out of the Loop: While Judai does tell Yuya some things, like how alternate dimensions exist or that he has a rogue Xyz-using lookalike running around, he very carefully withholds information about his own past - mainly everything relating to the Supreme King and the parts that involve Time Travel.
- Lying by Omission: Several people, in order to hide their status as Dimensional Travellers, use half truths when asked about their origin. A common line is that they're "out of town". Such things are also used for other things, such as when Judai is trying to hide that Yuto and Kurosaki came from a warzone - he calls them "teenagers with trust issues".
- Magical Accessory: Yuzu's bracelet like in canon, though unlike canon they never find out what it actually does because Yuya, Yuzu and Yuto were never in the same room together. However, it does start glowing when the three end up in the same area - with Yuto out of sight - making Judai take it from her for further examination.
- Metaphorically True: Many, many, many conversations. From Sora saying that "he's new in town" to Yuto and Kurosaki being explained away as "teenagers with trust issues", the list goes on and on.
- Mistaken Identity: Unlike canon, this is Averted. Yuzu at first thinks that Yuto is Yuya, but Judai steps in and helps clear the misunderstanding, which in turn forces Yuto to explain about Ruri.
- Mood Whiplash: So Yuzu is still shocked after a creepy version of Yuya blew up a warehouse, and Yuto thinks this Academia agent is going to card someone while Ruri is present... And then Judai turns and asks them what he should write on Sawatari's face. Both of them stare at him "like he's from another planet".
- The Multiverse: The twelve Dimensions from GX are brought up, and Judai with his friends spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the others are.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling:
- Johan keeps picking on a subtle but ever present dark aura from Yuya that speaks of danger.
- Judai also mentions that Yuto has an "otherworldly vibe".
- Mythology Gag:
- Non-Uniform Uniform: Judai, Johan and Sora's clothing. Judai still wears the jacket, Johan maintains the same Obelisk Blue colour even though what he's wearing is not technically a uniform, and Sora wears his own customized uniform. Despite the differences, everyone recognizes the colour coding and the design for what it is, which results in several people questioning whether the three are all from the same school.
- Noodle Incident: A number of canon events that the readers know about are presented as such In-Universe.
- The events of Bonds Beyond Time, which are referred as the "Paradox Incident". The only things stated In-Universe is that someone named Paradox stole Johan's Rainbow Dragon, something happened at Venice, and it involved "the King". Johan also knows about that time-traveling Synchro-using turbo duelist named Yusei Fudo, but nobody shared that with Yuya. Johan still refuses to explain how his dragon got stolen, making this an In-Universe noodle incident too.
- The entirety of GX season 3 and 4 serves as an in-universe example. Yuya is trying to fish as many information as possible out of Judai and Johan, but they're being deliberately cryptic.
- Not So Above It All: Yuto. First he accepts to replace Yuya during one of the qualification duels without even thinking about it, and then he actually participates in the Maiami Championship.
- Not What It Looks Like: Instead of Yuya, this time it's Judai who runs into the aftermath of Yuto's duel with Sawatari.Judai: Hey, Yuzu.
Judai: Do I even want to know what you were doing in a darkened warehouse with a dark lookalike of Yuya?
Yuzu: Idiot! It's not like that!
- Official Couple: Judai and Yubel, like in canon.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Judai's duel against Sakuragi Yuu happens entirety off-screen, but it was enough to traumatize Yuu.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Judai is normally very laid-back, so everyone is shocked when he starts shouting in Akaba Himika's face and insulting the duelists of LDS. Shortly afterwards, he proceeds to make a show of power in front of said duelists, by summoning Neos Wiseman in a duel where it was really unnecessary.
- Parental Abandonment:
- Yuya is still bitter that his father is missing, and his first thought at seeing Judai again is how come he's back and not his father.
- Judai's parents are brought up in a semi-frequent basis. The Arc-V characters are worried about Judai's complete lack of contact with them. In fact, they haven't talked in at least six years, and Johan says that they're probably not sure how to face each other.
- "Rashomon"-Style: A number of scenes — such as Yuzu's duel against Masumi — are seen from multiple points of view, with each character coming to very different conclusions about the situation.
- Running Gag: Yuya always complains that people keep stealing his pancakes.
- Shout-Out: When Yuto pulls a Stealth Hi/Bye, Judai compares him to a bat.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Yubel's opinion of Entertainment Dueling is that it's naïve. Kurosaki Shun also thinks that dueling for fun is ridiculous, but mostly because he can't bring himself to think about the time he used to do the same.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Yuya thinks that Judai is this in-universe, and that Yuya will be "replaced". Judai tells him that's not happening.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: In Yuto's debut, all it took was for Yuzu to look away for one second for him to vanish from sight.
- Stepford Smiler: Discussed. Judai disagrees with Yusho's philosophy because in his own words, if you laugh away your sadness and bottle up your emotions instead of expressing them, eventually you'll crack under the pressure, fall into anger and do something irreparable. Yuya is left disturbed by the whole thing, because he still idolizes his father.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: Judai still wears his Slifer Red jacket even though it has been years since he graduated Duel Academy.
- Switching P.O.V.: The narration switches between several characters — most prominent is Yuya, but others are Judai, Johan, Yubel, Yuzu, Yuto, Shun, Sora, Yoko and Akaba Reiji. Many times this trope is used to tell the same scene from multiple different perspectives, to give the reader more information.
- Title Drop: In chapter 8, Yuya wonder what was it with dimensional drifters and his mother's pancakes.
- Trademark Favourite Food: For Judai, it's deep-fried shrimp.
- Tranquil Fury: Yuto when facing Sora. He appeared calm but Yuya was practically choking by the anger.
- Trapped in Another World: Judai. He tried to find a way to get back, but gave up eventually. Johan also finds himself stranded while looking for Judai.
- Uncanny Valley: Yuzu and Kurosaki are creeped out by Yuto and Yuya respectively because they are Identical Strangers to people they are friends with yet act so differently from each other. Kurosaki is also freaked out by Yuzu, who not only looks identical to his missing sister, but is a Fusion user. Judai is the only one who doesn't have this reaction, because despite having the same face they're different in everything else.
- Unfazed Everyman:
- Yoko takes the revelation that over half of the people in her house are from another dimension quite in stride. She only says that "that explains a lot".
- Nico Smiley, upon seeing a concussed Yuya, his doppelganger, and some scary guy in an alley, immediately asks them to replace Yuya in a scheduled duel, smile not fading once. Kurosaki is actually disturbed by his attitude.
- Unwanted Rescue: Yuzu is very displeased that Yuto stepped between her and Sawatari — she wanted to kick his ass herself.
- Vague Age: Nobody's sure how old Judai is. Everyone calculates that Judai is "too old for the Youth Championship, but can probably pass for that age", and Johan is a bit shocked to realise that Judai hasn't physically changed since he left Academia.
- Walking the Earth: What Judai did before he was stranded in Standard, and what he kept on doing afterwards — much to Yuya's displeasure, who was abandoned by another familial figure.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 19. Sora and Yuto's duel goes out of control, Sora himself spills about the "people turned to cards" bit, Yuya nearly goes Berserk, Judai is forced to reveal his own manifestation powers, Yugo shows up and Yuto, Yugo, Sora and Judai are all teleported to places unknown... While in the middle of the stadium in full view of the entire city.
- What Would X Do?: During a conversation with Johan, Judai suggest doing exactly what Austin O'Brien would do if he found himself in a similar situation. Johan promptly shuts it down because last time O'Brien found himself in a situation like that, he fought Judai's Superpowered Evil Side by himself.
- Yandere: Yubel still has traces of this. She's annoyed that Judai is relaying information to Yuya — as little as it is — and is jealous that Judai doesn't summon her when he demonstrates his abilities to him. She also refuses to refer to him by name.
- "You!" Exclamation: Yuto delivers a quiet and poisonous one when he sees Yugo.
- You Remind Me of X: Judai admits that Yuya reminds him of himself when he was the same age. A.k.a. before everything went to hell.